Another piece of Vegas history now sleeps with the fishes.
The Davy’s Locker sign—the red-and-green neon fish that welcomed thirsty bar patrons at the corner of Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn for almost half a century—has been permanently demolished. In its place sits a drab, black rectangle. Below it, a white sign reads “Cocktails” in fire-engine red, just above a payday loans sign for the business next door. The gentle rolling waves at the top of the structure are the only reminders of the aquatic treasure that once glowed.
Locals and other sign aficionados began to worry about the future of the neon fish—arguably more beloved than Davy’s Locker itself—when the dive bar, built in 1968, sold in March. New owner Albert Hamika, who plans to reopen the space as Bert’s Bar on February 1, said he had talked to the Neon Museum about donating the sign, but that removing and transporting it would have been too expensive. “It was an extra cost that wasn’t needed. I’m already paying for the bar on my own,” Hamika, 22, says.
Neon Museum spokeswoman Dawn Merritt says the museum doesn’t typically assist with costs, but that it “had been in discussions” with Hamika to save the sign, calling it a “marker of the community,” notable for its “fabulous, whimsical” design. “We do have a small budget for such work, and we were in the process of obtaining costs to see if we could offer any assistance,” Merritt says.
Hamika points out that, in 2014, a “Save Davy’s Locker’s Sign” GoFundMe campaign raised only $2,726 of its $6,100 goal. “I want to emphasize I wasn’t like, ‘Okay, let’s destroy this sign.’ I like the sign, and I like the historic memorabilia … I tried. The only thing I can say is, it was time for it to come down.”